Preston North End fans’ favourite John Welsh will not have too many fond memories of the time PNE faced Hull City at the KC Stadium in March, 2007.
ack then Welsh, who had just turned 23-years-old, was a Tigers player after joining the club in the summer of 2005.
He was looking to make his own way in game after spending his formative years largely in the shadow of Steven Gerrard at Premier League giants Liverpool.
However, his career was brought to a temporary halt that day against North End after he suffered an horrific broken leg just five minutes into proceedings.
Looking to stamp his authority on the match, Welsh went into a tackle with North End striker Neil Mellor – a former team-mate of his at Anfield.
Many observers present at the game described Welsh’s tackle as reckless, but it was Mellor who walked away free of injury, while the Tigers’ midfielder was stretchered off.
It later transpired that he had sustained a broken tibia and fibula and underwent surgery.
After the match his manager Phil Brown – who ironically went on to have a largely unhappy spell managing North End a few years later – said: “The fact that John has broken his tibia and fibula is disappointing, of course it is.
“But the positive news surrounding John’s injury is that they can operate and his leg won’t become non-weight bearing.
“Therefore there won’t be as much muscle wastage and his rehabilitation can begin almost immediately.
“That is a bit of good news for John and he has been set a target for his comeback.
“Because he is such a positive lad, he’ll be aiming for that target and he’ll probably beat it.”
Welsh had made 18 appearances for Hull that season – his only goal of the campaign coming against Preston in a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Now aged 31, Welsh has obviously gone on to make a full recovery and after a spell with Tranmere, he is back playing in the Championship after playing an integral role in Preston’s promotion last season.
He does, though, still remember that unfortunate event clearly.
“It was a 50-50 and unfortunately for me I ended up breaking my tibia and fibula. It put my career back a few years and took me a while to get back on track.”
As for the game itself, City, were fighting a relegation battle that season, while the visitors were on the scent of another tilt at the Premier League through the play-offs.
However, it was the home side who upset the form book by securing a 2-0 victory, courtesy of a goal in each half from Nicky Forster and David Livermore respectively.
The win for Brown’s men went a long way to securing their Championship status for another season.
North End, meanwhile, were left cursing the result on Humberside.
In the final reckoning it contributed to them missing out on a position in the play-offs as they finished one point below sixth-placed Southampton.